Psalm 31 is one of the over 50 psalms that are categorized as psalms of lament. Verse five contains words that Jesus spoke on the cross right before His death. This psalm is another powerful picture of David pouring his heart out to God in recognition of the fact that only in God can he be kept safe.
I love the psalms that are full of praise to God and point me toward the beauty and majesty of His creation, but the psalms that I am drawn to again and again are the ones where a broken or fearful heart are presented to God in raw emotion. I find comfort in them, but also a kindred spirit for my own heart.
The psalms of lament are often a mix of reality and hyperbole (obviously exaggerated statements not meant to be taken literally), but I find that those mirror my own feelings when I’m hurt or in distress. Is literally everyone on the face of the earth against me? Well, no, but there are certainly times when I feel that way. I love that the psalms portray emotion that doesn’t always match with logic, because I can relate to that.
David’s typical pattern is to end with praise and thanksgiving. Even though things may seem to be beyond repair or redemption, still he praises God for being bigger than his circumstances. His words challenge me to do the same.
19How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. 20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.
21 Praise the Lord, for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack. 22 In panic I cried out, “I am cut off from the Lord!” But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help.
23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. 24 So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!
Executive Director of Education and Outreach